THE ANNOTATED SCORE A c o m pa n i o n p i e c e t o :The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films Part II: The TWO TOWERS pa c k a g e d w i t hThe Lord of the Rings: The TWO TOWERS The Complete Recordings.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS Disc One1 – GL A M D R I N GThe Fellowship of the Ring has been broken. The Dark Lord Sauron’s influence reaches deeper into Middle-earth, while thosewho would stand against him suffer. And yet, hidden from view, the One Ring continues its journey towards the fires of Mordor.The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers opens with horns and strings delicately ascending, until the London Philharmonic Orches-tra comes to rest in familiar territory. Howard Shore’s History of the Ring theme parts the curtains with a cold, bi-tonal setting ofthe figure that sets the A minor melody over an F minor harmony, and nestles us back into J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.But before the plot can move ahead, it must remind us from where we have come. And so we plummet back into Moria, back tothe Fellowship’s darkest hour as, having just crossed the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, they wait breathlessly for Gandalf the Grey toward off the fiery Balrog. Shore’s score sharpens its corners, returning to the same Dwarf style used for the last appearance of theunderground city. Blocks of brass and percussion scuff against one another as the Balrog’s ingress causes the Bridge to crumbleand fall. Howard Shore scored this sequence anew for The Two Towers, but select passages from Fellowship’s Moria music arequoted verbatim. “The percussion is similar throughout, and the same phrase plays as Gandalf slips,” the composer recalls. Withan orchestral wince, wizard and demon fall, but this time we leave the Fellowship behind and follow them down through the rockybowels of Moria. Chorus erupts with Philippa Boyens’ text “The Abyss,” while the rising colonnades of the Moria theme and thestinging brass pyramids of The Dark Places of the World battle for dominance.The score churns to a rhythmic frenzy until Gandalf and the Balrog plunge into a vast open cavern. The pair has left the worldof the Dwarves, and the score suddenly broadens into great rolling chords for mixed chorus and arpeggiating low strings. Voicesin 3/4 time sing out in the Elves’ formal tongue, Quenya, for “The Fight.” One final violent assault of percussion carries the battleinto the lake below, shaking Frodo from this disturbing dream.2 – E LVE N RO PE Prefiguring its functional debut, the Rohan Fanfare makes an early, restrained string appearance under The Two Towers’ title card, ushering in the official start of the saga’s next chapter. And a bleak chapter it will be. No sooner are Frodo and Sam seen scraping their way down a sheer wall of rock than Shore reintroduces the weary lines of the Evil Times motif, the Ring Quest theme associated with the suffering and strain the One Ring has wrought upon Middle-earth. Tellingly, Evil Times is the only Ring Quest theme that ap- pears more than once in The Two Towers. IN THE MAKING: Frodo and Sam will bear the brunt of the suffering in this story as the Ring’s influence In the finished film, the grows more powerful, its burden heavier. Shire theme that immedi- Here, at the chapter’s beginning, the hob- ately follows the sprightly bit duo is only beginning to feel this effect. scoring of Sam’s imperma- Shore’s scoring alternates between hope and nent knot is replaced withgrimness, rotating through taxed, rundown readings of the Shire theme and the slightly a version of Evil Times oncheerier hobbit sounds still available to the composer. However, the Ring has already begun cor anglais. Here on CD, theto etch its scar upon Frodo. As the hobbit has a vision of Sauron’s great lidless eye, the warm, albeit momentarylooming harmonies of Mordor blot out the brightness with the same close-voiced chords respite of the Shire Themeused for the Ringwraiths. has been restored.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 3 – LO ST I N E MYN MUIL En route, Frodo and Sam momentarily enjoy basic hobbit comforts—a bit of rest and a bite to UNUSED CONCEPT: eat—while Sam’s culinary enthusiasm lifts his friend’s spirits. The Pensive Setting of the Shire theme makes an appearance in clarinet, and Shore allows the theme to settle in unaltered. Shore wrote and record- “Sometimes I work themes in subtly, and other times I just state them directly.” ed an early version of this scene that was consider- The comfort is short-lived, for soon a winding line in the alto flute and cor anglais reminds us ably different in content. that the two hobbits are still being stalked. The Pity of Gollum (Sméagol’s Theme) peeks out In this original draft, momentarily before retreating behind a screen of harrowed brass and strings. A brief choral progressive choral har- interlude reinstates the ominous stillness of the surroundings with the text, “The Road to Mor- monies drew themselves dor,” a Sindarin translation of the same lines Gollum will speak later in the film. over stately interjections from the low strings. The tortured creature returns, now prepared to actively reclaim his precious Ring. No longer Approximately half-way a passive character, he is represented by the new Gollum’s Menace (Gollum’s Theme) and the through the “Lost in jittery tones of the cimbalom. Gollum’s approach, however, has not gone unnoticed, and he is Emyn Muil” heard here, seized upon by the Shore includes part of hobbits. A struggle this original composi- ensues with fami- tion, further exploring his lies of brass shout- perception of the barren, ing chaotically at rocky landscape. “It’s a each other across compositional decision,” racing string lines. he asserts. After a fit of grab- bing, scratching and biting, Gollumfinds himself at the end of Sting, Bilbo’s sword passeddown to Frodo. Now at the hobbits’ mercy Gollumshivers and sobs as, once again, the cimbalom quiversbeneath him.4 – M Y PR E C I O USBound by Elven rope, Gollum attempts to strike a bargain with the hobbits. Back in his subservient guise, pleading for lenience,Gollum is rejoined with his aching Pity theme. He is still both characters, needy Sméagol and nasty Gollum. Alto flute and coranglais again pick up the Pity theme until Gollum offers to swear upon the Ring to help. Solo oboe segues into the History of theRing—conjoining Gollum’s Pity and the Ring’s History for the first time in the story.Sam is suspicious. He rushes the captive as low strings recoil with an extension of the Pity of Gollum. Frodo, however, is moresympathetic to Gollum’s plight. He sees in Gollum his own suffering and strife—and possibly his future. He asks Gollum to guidethem to Mordor and Shore introduces a new member of Sauron’s musical menagerie, The Way to Mordor, in solo French hornover expectant tremolo strings. Gollum agrees to lead the journey to Sauron’s domain.Freed, Gollum lopes though Emyn Muil’s blades of rock while a grotesque twist on his Menace theme provides a bit of travelingmusic, first in cimbalom, then in stopped French horn. As he leads the hobbits on, winds and strings pick up the first three notesof the Pity of Gollum, flinging them through a harmonic gamut as the trio passes out of sight.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 5 – U GLÚK ’ S WARRI O RS Merry and Pippin’s southeastern journey from the Shire has been no easier. The two were captured by the Uruk- hai at the end of Fellowship, and have now been bound and tossed upon the Uruk’s shoulders on their rough journey across Middle-earth. As the ferocious band passes, Shore’s composition lurches to life with harsh, grunting brass tones— including French horns in their lowest, most gut- tural register—before clarinet and bassoon pick up the begin- IN THE MAKING: ning of a resolute but strained clip of the The final choral outburst Shire theme. Merry in this piece, which uses and Pippin aren’t the text “The Missing” beaten yet. The line was not used in the film,finishes proudly in resonant brass, but soon the Uruks are back on the move. The score is but appears here on discroused to violent purpose as the hammering percussion of the Five Beat Pattern bludgeons its in its intended place.musical surroundings and ushers the Isengard/Orc theme back into the score.6 – T H E T H R EE HUNTERSMan, Elf and Dwarf stand as the remaining three members of the Fellowship, now dedicated to tracking Merry and Pippin whileFrodo and Sam tend to the Ring. Though they are reduced in force, their quest is no less noble. And so, this cross-cultural triois accompanied by the strongest readings of the Fellowship theme that The Two Towers has to offer. Aptly set in triple meter, theFellowship theme begins unharmonized, then passes through a short Dwarvish variation for Gimli’s appearance. As the ThreeHunters brave ahead, sovereign brass settings of the Fellowship theme gather energy while strings vehemently drum throughaccompaniments. The melody has lost some of its sheen since the first film, but it’s not yet ready to admit defeat. “It’s not quite asheroic as in Moria,” Shore says. “It still has some energy, but this is only part of the Fellowship, and the quest is not going well.”The Fellowship variations curb their show of strength as the trio pauses on a hill overlooking the vast plains of Rohan. The firsthalf of the Rohan Fanfare heralds the new land with an air of simplicity, humility and regality. But the writing becomes embittered as Legolas examines the Uruks’ path. The beasts are taking the hobbits to Saruman at Isengard. As if in opposing answer to the beautiful symmetry of the Fellowship theme, IN THE MAKING: the score is seized by the thick, inclinatory music of Isengard and Mordor. In the Extended Edition of Isengard’s Five Beat Pattern begins a layered build under mounting brass chords, but is the film, the first shots of quickly supplanted by the upwards-racing Skip Beat, which dashes out to introduce the Isengard play unscored, saving music of Mordor. Coated in these jagged tones, Sauron’s exotic theme enkindles, first in the Five Beat Pattern for later French horns, then in muted trumpets and the Moroccan rhaita. Saruman steps away in the scene when the Uruk- from the vision in his palantír to command his army, and the Isengard theme and Five hai are hacking down Fan- Beat Pattern return to the fore. But the White Wizard is now emboldened by a new gorn’s trees. Here the Pattern’s musical ally: rasping scraps of Mordor’s Descending Third figure commingle with a con- first appearance is returned to torted Isengard theme. Saruman’s ties to Sauron have strengthened since The Fellowship its intended placement. of the Ring. Whereas figures such as the Threat of Mordor and the Mordor Outline once wandered near Isengard’s material, the Descending Third now directly intermixes with it.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS It is a dangerous alliance, for as Saruman boasts, “Who now has the strengthto stand against the armies of Isengard and Mordor? To stand against the IN THE MAKING:might of Sauron and Saruman and the union of the two towers?” Listeners will note that “The Three Hunt-Isengard’s armies are ordered to strike a small village on Rohan’s outskirts. As ers” and “The Banishment of Éomer”a mother sends her young children ahead to save their lives, the chorus, begin- share a few identical measures.ning with the Evil Times motif, intones a lament in the Rohirrim’s adapted The end of “The Three Hunters” con-Old English. “Rohan, my lord, is ready to fall,” the White Wizard promises. tains a prefigured reference to Éowyn’s principle theme, Éowyn Shieldmaiden of7 – T H E BA N I SHME NT O F ÉO MER Rohan. The Two Towers’ Theatrical edit cuts directly from the Uruk’s assault onÉomer discovers the King’s son wounded, and returns him to Edoras. He the Westfold to Edoras, where Éowyn,pleads with Théoden, suggesting that Rohan must be protected properly from accompanied by this early version of herSaruman’s advances. But the King remains mute. Save for an early version theme, rushes up a staircase to encounterof Éowyn’s theme, Shore avoids leitmotivic writing during this entire Rohan Théodred’s injured form.sequence and deals, instead, purely with Rohan’s musical style—open harmo- In the DVD edit of the film, Éowyn’snies, alternating major and minor modes, low voiced brass and strings. The climb is preceded by a scene in whichplight of the One Ring has not yet reached Edoras—at least, not explicitly— Éomer discovers Théodred’s body on aand so the Rohirrim remain on the story’s edges for the time being. “This is riverbank. In this instance, “The Threewritten as opera,” Shore says. “Little gestures, moments and pauses—intimate, Hunters” is faded out of the film before itsdark, Gothic scenes made to feel like Nineteenth Century opera.” conclusion. The Éowyn theme still exists at the end of the composition, however, because of the editing, it goes unheard. Because The Two Towers: The Complete Recordings does not fade the piece out be- fore its end, this Éowyn theme still plays at 5:58 in “The Three Hunters” On DVD, Éomer carries Théodred back to Edoras, and Shore begins “The Banish- ment of Éomer.” Éowyn’s staircase scene comes shortly thereafter, so at 0:31 the same Éowyn theme originally meant to conclude the Theatrical edit of “The Three Hunters” plays. The Two Towers: The Complete Recordings contains the unaltered versions of both “The Three Hunters” and “The Banish- ment of Éomer,” so the early ÉowynGríma Wormtongue issues forth from Meduseld’s dank corners, forming the theme plays in both compositions.King’s words for him. Shuddering F-minor chords build in the strings, stack-ing higher and higher over low brass, while a tantrum of repeating Frenchhorns outrages the ensemble.Elsewhere, the Fellowship of the Ring makes its way across the Horselords’ lands, close on the heels of the Uruk-hai. But the Isen-gard material, like the Orcs themselves, is now more driven, more aggressive. As the forces of evil advance their campaign to over-take Middle-earth, the Isengard music adopts a parasitic stance, writhing its way inside any music it encounters in an attempt tocorrupt its host. Here Isengard’s Five Beat Pattern forces itself upon the Fellowship theme, deforming the melody with its tiltingmechanical might. Over this charge, mixed chorus sings ominous fractures of “Namárië,” offering a farewell…but to which troop?
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 8 – N I GH T C AMPThe Orcs stop for the night on the edge of Fangorn Forest. Merry and Pippin hear the trees groaning in protest of their violentnew neighbors, but a more melodious sound soon rises. A hobbity clarinet plays Nature’s Reclamation, a theme not heard sinceGandalf the Grey whispered to a moth atop Orthanc long ago. Merry tells Pippin the legend of Fangorn and the Ents. “Here is alittle bit of the Nature theme, which I’ll use later on,” Shore reminds us.The tale is quickly interrupted by the Orcs’ lust for meat. A dissonantly har-monized three-note figure for brass and scraped tam-tam skitters about, jolt- UNUSED CONCEPT:ing the orchestra as one scrawny Mordor Orc decides he’s held his hunger forhobbit-flesh at bay long enough. Uglúk decapitates him, offering his warriors The wild scoring for the Riders’ attacka cannibalistic treat, but during the ensuing feeding frenzy, yet another gaunt, on the Orcs was replaced in the film withleathery Orc, Grishnákh, seeks to satiate his desire to dine on the hobbits. music written for another Two Towers scene. Heard in The Complete RecordingsIn a dashing flourish of strings and brass, Merry and Pippin’s salvation is again is Shore’s riotous final draft of the music,provided in the nick of time, in this instance by the Riders of Rohan. As the which plays up the confusion and brutal-Orcs are slaughtered by the Riders, Shore’s score whips into a paroxysmal ity of the scene.stampede of pounding percussion, knifelike trumpet lines and the yelping However, the very first draft of thehowls of high, aleatoric French horns. composition included a bold setting of the Rohan Fanfare. It was eventually de-9 – T H E PL A I NS O F RO HAN cided that the full version of the Fanfare should be held until King Théoden hasCelli and bassoon glide about minor modes while heavy rattles clack in the reclaimed Meduseld’s throne, and so thepercussion section. The Riders of Rohan are upon the Fellowship. Low brass scene was recast as a moment of panic,and high woodwinds ascend in pairs of pitches, similar to the trumpet line not heroism. The Rohan Fanfare versionheard when the Riders ambushed the Orcs’ camp, and the horsemen encircle was never recorded— the only sizeablethe Three Hunters. Gimli, feeling no need to temper his Dwarvish charm, piece of music fromThe Two Towers thatimmediately proceeds to insult Éomer. Though it’s a somewhat less than auspi- failed to make it to the recording floor.cious start, herein lies the first interactions between the Fellowship and theRohirrim, and so Shore introduces, in embryonic form, The Fellowship in Ro-han, the figure that will represent the Fellowship’s presence in the Horselords’lands.Éomer reveals to the Fellowship that the Riders have only the night before slaughtered a party of Uruk-hai and burnt the corpsesupon the plains. They saw no Halflings among them; no creature was left alive. The words rest heavily upon Aragorn, Gimli andLegolas. A dejected setting of the Fellowship theme plays out in a solo horn above a string pedal, and the score takes an unshak-ably dark, elegiac turn.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 1 0 – FA N G O R N Aragorn, the Ranger from the North, reads the ground surrounding the Uruks’ pyre—hobbits were recently here! Aragorn traces their paths while IN THE MAKING: the writing builds intently, chords signaling back and forth between the Several sections of Shore’s Fangorn compo- orchestra’s mid and low ranges. He follows the tracks to the edge of the sition went unheard in the final film. The Forest of Fangorn, and the music shivers, releasing two major chords a piece’s opening 45 seconds, meant to un- tritone apart (A and Eb). A new tone enters: the low, grumbling roll of the derscore Aragorn’s first moments of hobbit bass marimba presents the music of the Ents in an early version of its rising tracking, were replaced with sound effects. and falling line and dispassionate rhythms. But the theme is incomplete, The initial strokes of the bass marimba, and lacks its characteristic harmonization. Fangorn is a place of mystery, meant for a wide shot of the tree line, and and it’s still unclear if this land will welcome hobbits. the second and third iterations of the tritone chords, meant for Treebeard’s Orc-squash- Cowering in Fangorn’s underbrush, Merry and Pippin are discovered by ing steps, were replaced with music from Grishnákh, now hungry, bloodied, and more than a little resentful. The Orc elsewhere in the film. storms towards them while the score bursts into a berserk polyrhythmic conflagration, joining Mordor’s Skip Beat and Isengard’s Five Beat Pattern Once identified, Treebeard is accompanied into a grim alliance. Story-wise, this combination is noteworthy because only by the Entish bass marimba, log drum this is a Mordor Orc; thus the Five Beat Pattern has officially begun to and low string figures—the solo bassoon spread throughout all Orc cultures that stand as enemies against Nature. was removed from the film. “Peter tried “This was tricky to write,” recalls Shore. “It took a while to achieve the mixing the bassoon solo in, but there was so rhythmic elements and the flow.” much sound in there already, we didn’t use it,” Shore remembers. The hobbit duo manages to scramble up a tree, but the Orc catches Merry’s Here on CD, all elements on Shore’s compo- legs, plucking him from the branches and slamming him into the dirt sition are returned to their intended places. below. Once again, the score fumes, twisting the Five Beat Pattern into a jumbled spasm where its signature three-beats-plus-two is subdivided into one-and-a-half plus one-and-a-half plus two.The score holds its breath, poised on a single C-natural as the Orc lifts his blade preparing it to work it edgewise into Merry’sbelly. Without warning, Pippin’s arboreal hiding spot peels open a pair of eyes. The hobbit’s own eyes open wide with shock, andagain Shore’s score utilizes two major triads a tritone apart (this time Ab and D). The Five Beat attempts to dominate the music,but is soon flattened by a roll of timpani, bass drum, low strings and tremolo piano octaves. The wonderment of the tritone chordsreturns a final time in muted brass as a great bark-skinned creature takes the two hobbits high in his clutches and regards them.“Tree? I am no tree! I am an Ent.” The momentTreebeard reveals his true nature, the score trans-forms, its aggressively dangerous edge replaced bya wobbly genial character. This is the fully realizedsignature music of the Ents. Bass marimba, logdrums and strings patter about while solo bas-soon circles in low creaks, probing a charminglyponderous melody.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 1 1 – T H E D E AD MARSHES With a limb-weary, incomplete utterance of the Shire theme, Gollum leads Frodo and Sam out of Emyn Muil and into the Dead Marshes. The Dead Marshes are a cryptic, haunted land, yet, as Gollum knows, they also provide a usefully covert path to Mordor. Bb minor and # F minor, the opening harmonies of Gollum’s Pity theme, swell and ebb as the wretch leads the hobbits forward. But a veil of gauzy tones descends as the trio enters the bog, knots of aleatoric strings, timpani and themetallic wails of a bowed tam-tam tangling the sickening air. A weightier discomfort binds Frodo and Gollum, how- ever. Gollum knows the painful allure of the Ring, and Frodo sees in Gollum his own potential future. Gollumapproaches Frodo, half in sympathy, half in helpless dedication to his precious. Cor anglais taunts the two with the opening pitchesof the History of the Ring theme, but the melody is never completed. Instead, it’s intercepted and redirected by the first fourpitches of Gollum’s Pity theme, which shuffles in to artificially complete the line.Apparitional portamentos, guide the composition down a more ghoulish road. Lyric soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, coupled withviolins, slowly bends pitches upward as the bodies of dead Men, Elves and Orcs that litter the swamp water peer back at the livingwith blank faces. The veil of aleatoric strings and timpani again lowers and Frodo is be-witched. He falls into the murky waters where he’s wrapped in a smear of Schönberg-esque Sprechstimme voices, half singing, half speaking the text “The Dead Marshes.” IN THE MAKING: Portions of this composition areWith a blast of horns, Gollum grabs Frodo and pulls him from the water. Gollum, per- dissolved in the film, most nota-haps even showing some concern for his master, offers a bit of advice: “Don’t follow the bly Frodo’s underwater encoun-lights.” Low strings uncoil an F-major arpeggio figure based on The Pity of Gollum— ter with the ghouls of Dagorlad,perhaps a heroic moment? But they fade immediately back to an F-minor arpeggio. It is Gollum’s speedy rescue maneu-transient heroism, if any. ver and Frodo’s caressing of theFrodo rests for the night, gingerly tracing his finger around the Ring’s circumference. Ring. The music plays here onAgain the first pitches of the History of the Ring theme sound in the strings, overlap- CD as Shore originally wrote it.ping in octaves. Gollum pantomimes Frodo’s behavior a few feet away, fantasizing abouthis former possession, and painting a bleak portrait of the hobbit’s future.1 2 – “ WR A I T H S O N WI N GS ”Violins rise through the three opening pitches of Gollum’s Pity. But instead of proceeding back down the line, the strings leerilydivert up for two sighing pitches a half-step apart—the first notes of the History of the Ring. Frodo probes Gollum’s history, even calling him Sméagol for the first time in the story, but in one short passage, the score tells us everything we need to know. Gollum’s sad theme now interweaves with the UNUSED CONCEPT: Ring’s History theme. The Pity of Gollum and the History of the Ring have twisted into a single, tortured whole. Gollum’s history is the Ring’s history. In the finished film, the Ring- wraith’s appearance features The revelation is short lived, however. A rude series of evenly spaced D-naturals different choral performances pushes the compound Way to Mordor figure back into the score and directs all eyes and fewer developments of the upwards. A Ringwraith soars above Gollum and the hobbits, still hunting the Ring, Wraith theme. The composi- now mounted on the back of a winged fell beast. Mixed chorus bleeds back into the tion featured on CD is as it was score, intoning the Black Speech lyrics and close harmonies of the Ringwraiths. With originally written by Shore. an up-tempo charge of the Threat of Mordor, the Wraith’s theme ruptures through— each choral burst doubled in muted trumpets, recalling the pinched tone of the rhaita.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 1 3 – G A N DAL F THE WHITEBack in Fangorn, the Three Hunters continue their search for Merry and Pippin. Droplets of black Orc blood indicate they aremaking progress, but the eeriness of the forest keeps the trio on its guard. Shore’s Ent theme is picked up in the extreme ends ofthe strings— shivery high violins and rumbling contrabasses and celli. The middle of the orchestra, meanwhile, fidgets and barkswith tight horn clusters and the knocks of the log drums. “The trees are speaking to each other,” Legolas observes as a steady musi-cal build begins in a twittering hum of strings, winds, timpani and tam-tam scrapes. The patterns crescendo and complicate as theElf continues, “The White Wizard approaches.”With a sudden upward sweep of staggered brass, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas turn to attack the interloper, but their assaults areeffortlessly turned away. A pulsing pedal tone beats below dense minor harmonies as intense white light engulfs the trio. Followingone last tuft of aleatoric strings, the music dissolves into clear, pure brightness. High strings consolidate into octaves while femalevoices chant in repeating triplet figures. In four arcing measures, Shore introduces the music for Gandalf the White (In Nature).The music rises in unchecked splendor, tempered only by the brevity of its appearance. This theme articulates the same simpledirectness as does Nature’s Reclamation, but the chorus carriesan embedded secret: the text is drawn from Tolkien’s “The Call,”and has been translated into Old English. Throughout TheLord of the Rings, the chorus lyrics used for Gandalf regard the UNUSED CONCEPT:wizard’s position as a mediator, a character that moves between The sustained musical build from Legolas’ line, “Thecultures to influence Middle-earth. In Lothlórien, he was ref- trees are speaking to each other,” to the assault on theerenced in Sindarin and Quenya texts. In Moria, the Dwarves’ White Wizard is replaced in the film with sound ef-Khuzdul accompanied his movements. But here in Fagorn, fects, as is Gandalf ’s final battle with the Balrog andGandalf the White is met by choral lyrics in the same adapted his mystical odyssey through the cosmos. “The scoreOld English associated with Rohan. The wizard has now been needed to pause,” Shore explains. “We don’t alwayssent back as an agent of Nature and, as such, has a greater grasp know this until we’ve assembled all the elements of theof the mysteries of Middle-earth. He knows he must lead the film, and we don’t do that until very late in the process.”remaining members of the Fellowship through Rohan. Another editorial decision, however, resulted in aBut first, Gandalf must account for his reappearance. The happy accident in the music for Gandalf ’s return toWizard recounts his ordeal with the Balrog and their climb to Middle-earth. During The Two Towers’ production,the summit of Zirakzigil. Shore’s score supplies the vaguest hint Shore scored individual scenes as the film was edited,of Dwarvish music—plangent timpani strokes over open fifth which meant that he wasn’t always writing in storyharmonies—but, this is not the same intense fight that began order. He had already completed a long series of risingupon the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. After two days and nights, the choral triplets for Gandalf ’s pending arrival at Helm’scombatants are worn. Summoning its last bits of strength, the Deep when the filmmakers began to edit Gandalf ’s firstscore exerts a final choral thrust, drawing again from Boyens’ appearance in Fangorn. The editors took the completedtext, “The Fight,” and Gandalf smites the Balrog’s ruin upon the Helm’s Deep music and edited it into Fangorn, find-mountainside. ing, in the process, that it struck exactly the mood they sought. So when Shore came to score this scene, heGandalf, too, collapses, but the score neither celebrates nor incorporated the rising triplets, creating, in the process,mourns the battle’s end. Instead, with a thousand pinpricks of a recurring theme for Gandalf the White (In Nature).woodwinds and violins, it trickles back to life. After wandering As it happened, however, the theme was eventuallythe less tangible corners of existence, strong melodic figures in removed from the Helm’s Deep scene. And so, only onthe massed low voices of the orchestra pass Gandalf ’s sprit back this CD set do both iterations of Gandalf the Whiteinto his body, and Gandalf the White is brought into the world. (In Nature) exist, binding Gandalf ’s two most promi- nent moments of reappearance.So the road to Edoras is laid before the Fellowship. The musicsnaps to with a sense of rhythmic purpose, but Gimli protests, The final alteration to this composition involvesrecalling their original purpose for entering the forest. Bits of Shadowfax’s approach, though in this case the sequencehobbit music, including the End Cap figure, can be heard form- was simply rewritten with a slightly different approach.ing like the thoughts in the Dwarf ’s mind before they reach his Shore’s first draft of this music can still be heard on Themouth. “Are we to leave those poor hobbits here…?” The score Two Towers’ 2002 original soundtrack CD.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 10takes one more detour to Ent music—reduced to a gnarring collection of celli, contrabasses, timpani and log drums—as Gimliagain manages to insult his hosts. But the son of Glóin’s barbs are well meant. He doesn’t like the idea of leaving Merry and Pippinlost in Fangorn. Gandalf, however, is content—the hobbits have joined with the Ents for a purpose. His nature-based metaphor(“The coming of Merry and Pippin will be like the falling of small stones that starts an avalanche in the mountains,”) is preceded # #by the same succoring four chords (F minor, G major, F minor, A minor) that will begin “The Dreams of Trees,” but here theybuild into a profoundly elevating choral line that, like Gandalf the White (In Nature), foreshadows more the potent variations ofNature music to come. Shore, in dioramic form, introduces a powerfully symbolic foretoken—the simple goodness of these twohobbits will arouse Nature’s retribution. But like Gandalf ’s words, the chart of this course is still shrouded in mystery.Once again, however, the music stays one step ahead of the plot. As the chords build in the chorus, Shore utilizes a text, “TheMearas,” that references a more immediate manifestation of the natural world—the imminent arrival of Gandalf ’s steed, Shad-owfax. Gandalf rides with the Three Hunters, and the Fellowship has officially increased its count to four members. Upon thismark, Shore introduces a new variant of the Fellowship theme: Gandalf the White (In the Fellowship). “Gandalf now relates tothe mystery of the story,” Shore explains of the broad, regal melody, which, like Gandalf the White (In Nature), features Nature’shigh clear tones. “He’s the character that’s trying to figure everything out, always riding out to find information and bring it back.He’s part of the unknown—he’s been reborn and we really don’t know much about him.” Built off the opening down-and-back-uppitches of the Fellowship’s theme, Gandalf the White (In the Fellowship) creates the bridge between the will of Nature and theresponsibilities and deeds of the Fellowship of the Ring.1 4 – T H E D R E AM S O F TREESThe four “small stones” chords return as we find that Treebeard has befriended the hobbits and has generously begun to treat themto recitations of languid Entish poetry. Merry and Pippin are in a somewhat less than literary mindset at present, and soon findthemselves floating off to sleep. The orchestra’s strings present the score’s first uncompromised moments of extended peace andtranquility as the two hobbits greet the nestling calm of which they’ve been lately deprived. A Lullaby Setting of the Shire Themepasses between lush strings and solo winds as Treebeard sets the two hobbits on the cool earth and wishes them well for the night.He has business to attend to, and with the Ent theme creaking in low strings and timpani, the Shepherd of the Trees teeters offinto the woods.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 111 5 – T H E H E I R O F NÚME N O RGandalf and Aragorn confer during the night, eyes eastwardtowards the glowering threat that will soon be upon them. Lowstring writing surrounds the pair, ceaselessly plies fields of minorharmonies in their uncertainty. But out of the chill comes anunexpected moment of warmth as violas and celli embrace an ac-cordant line in D major. Gandalf reminds Aragorn that for all hiscunning, Sauron still does not know that Frodo carries the Ring.Here Shore presents a new theme for the One Ring—the Fate ofthe Ring—a theme that will be heard in The Two Towers in onlythis incomplete statement. This fourth Ring theme is melodicallysimilar to both the History of the Ring and the Evil of the Ring,though it is cast in a rich major mode, eschewing the respectiveminor and Eastern-tinged harmonies of the others. What’s more,The Fate of the Ring begins with a direct quote of the Evil Timestheme, but again, shifted into a major key. Though the new melody dissolves before revealing its significance, it seems, in its fleet-ing moment, to answer the Ring’s negativity with a plenary, all-encompassing beauty. But these answers are not yet to be articu-lated and, with an inlaid statement of the Shire theme’s three opening pitches, the comfort abates, and we join Sam and Frodo justas they arrive at the Black Gate.Here in the depraved heart of Sauron’s empire, the music of Mordor abounds. Cinders of the Evil of the Ring theme pollute theair, passing from muted trumpets and rhaita on to low French horns, bassoon and contrabassoon. Martial field drumming indu-rates the music under an exacting setting of the Mordor Skip Beat—Sauron is amassing his army.The Gate opens to admit a troop of armored Easterlings, and Frodo sees his opportunity. He gathers himself to rush the Gate asviolins cluster, dividing the section 12 ways. Abruptly, Frodo is stopped by Gollum, weeping and pleading, “Don’t take it to him.”High strings and oboe solicit the proceedings with an entreating line that subtly segues into the History of the Ring in its closingmoments. In an astute turn, Shore’s score quietly reveals Gollum’s self-satisfying motives before he offers to lead the hobbits onanother more secret path to Mordor.1 6 – E N T- D R AUGH TMerry and Pippin awaken in Fangorn, rejuvenated from a long overdue sleep. Well-rested, they are back to their waggish hobbitways, and so Shore brings back the whistle for the first time in The Two Towers, presenting an early version of a new Shire themevariation, the Playful Setting. Merry and Pippin, more than Frodo and Sam, have maintained their wily demeanors during theirquest, so most of the score’s new Shire variations develop during their adventures.The one-two bump of the hobbits’ End Cap figure precedes a stiff bit of Ent music as Merry absorbs the forest’s deep sounds,but soon the two friends are caught up squabbling over a musty jug of Ent-draught. Solo clarinet adopts the fully formed PlayfulSetting, running the three rising pitches of the Shire music over a number of gracefully springy harmonies. The same elegantlycomical developments then expand the End Cap figure, embellishing it into the new Hobbits’ Antics accompaniment.Meanwhile, the hobbits’ disagreement devolves into a mad dash for the woodland beverage, and the Hobbits’ Antics transformsinto a lightweight action motif, fitfully punctuated by high string settings of the Ent theme that meet the hobbits’ music on itsown sonic terms. Fangorn’s trees are not so enamored of these new three-foot-plus visitors who gallop carelessly across their roots.True, it is not the Ents themselves that Merry and Pippin have irritated; yet both the Ents and the trees make up Fangorn Forestand neither can be rightly classified apart from their surroundings. Thus, Shore uses the Ent theme as a kind of a Fangorn catch-all. The trees awaken, ensnaring the hobbits and dragging them beneath the forest floor as the score sets the Ent theme contrapun-tally in the two extreme registers of the orchestra. Low voices carry the prim figure in nervous rapidity while the upper voices takethe line at half speed, compounding the dangerous tension as the music accelerates. All is well, however. Treebeard returns andorders the trees to sleep again and leave the hobbits be.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 12 Disc Two1 – E D O R ASThe call of the Fellowship’s theme announces their arrival at Edoras and the Golden Hall of Meduseld, where they are greetedby the Hardanger fiddle scraping the opening tones of the Rohan Fanfare over its strings. This fiddle casts a diffusely mild lighton Rohan’s landscape, underscoring the kingdom’s beauty and fragil-ity. All is not well in Rohan. The four-member Fellowship proceedsunder a heavy shadow of Rohan harmonies, but there is yet a glimmerof hope. As the band nears Meduseld, a rising variant on The White IN THE MAKING:Rider (In the Fellowship) begins—dour, bedecked in the most down- In the film the Hardanger’s first statement is dis-trodden of Rohan’s harmonies, yet directed nonetheless. solved, placing the Rohan Fanfare in solo trum- pet. On this CD set, the trumpet and HardangerBut the theme is cut short and unresolved. Inside, Éowyn finds that are coupled.her cousin, Théodred, has died in the night. Wormtongue parts theshadows in self-serving consolation, pulling uncomfortably closeto Éowyn, wrapping her in his poison words. “So fair. So cold. Likea morning of pale spring still clinging to winter’s chill.” Solo oboe lifts up a delicate, crystalline line as Éowyn pauses, caught inGríma’s gaze. But she rebukes his seduction, and with her act of assertion, earns the first fully formed statement of the ÉowynSheildmaiden of the Rohirrim theme. Proud horns carry her to Meduseld’s parapet just as the royal banner rips free and fluttersto the feet of the arriving Fellowship. Again the Hardanger slowly draws Rohan’s theme forth. Éowyn watches the Fellowshipapproach the Hall’s main gate, nearly too heartbroken to care about these visitors. Her principle theme returns in a disconsolatevariation for horns and cor anglais.2 – T H E CO URT O F MED USELDHere, at Rohan’s darkest hour, the Fellowship of the Ring steps into the kingdom’s gnawed core and finds…a worm. Contrabas-soon, tuba, celli and contrabasses wallow in a sepulchral, debauched chromatic line, spewing out the Gríma Wormtongue theme,colored by resonant bass drum strokes and a film of high string clusters. Wormtongue slithers his way around Théoden’s seat, thetrue commanding force in the throne room.And yet, even Wormtongue’s words belong to another. As the Fellowship battles their way to the fallen king, the blank rhythmicstride of Wormtongue’s theme gives way to a more telling shape. Rising bolts of brass in Rohan-esque Dorian modes snap to,while each angular phrase is stretched over five beats—an element of Isengard pitted within Rohan. As Gandalf reaches Théoden,we understand:Wormtongue is in league with Isengard, and Saruman has possessed the King. The Five Beat Pattern returns un-encumbered as, with a single Quenya word, full chorus reveals that Gandalf the Grey is now Gandalf theWhite: “Mettanna,” (“Tothe end.”) The language of the Rohirrim introduced Gandalf to Fangorn Forest, and now the language of the Elves introduceshim to the Rohirrim. Chorus continues with “The King,” and Gandalf attempts to rescind Saruman’s influence. Above this, a brassline enunciates the score’s downand-back-up shape twice, first as Isengard’s half-step, then as the Fellowship’s (and Gandalf theWhite’s) whole-step, in a battle for Théoden’s soul.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 133 – T H É O D E N KI N GFeaturing “The Funeral of Théodred” performed by Miranda OttoGandalf is victorious—Saruman is drawn from Théoden and Rohan is freed of his evil influence. As the King regains his con-sciousness he is met by Éowyn’s smiling face. Tentative string chords are taken in by the comforting embrace of Éowyn andThéoden’s theme. “I always thought of this scene as being about Éowyn and Théoden’s relationship,” Shore explains. “This theme isapplied to her, but I think of it as being between them.”Théoden rises, grasps Herugrim, his sword, and for the first time in The Lord of the Rings, Shore’s Rohan Fanfare surges to the forein an unabated show of pride and honor. This is the great kingdom of Rohan, home of the Horselords, and King Théoden againexercises his just rule. A heraldic phrase of French horns, two trumpets and full strings announces the King’s return to the throne,while the Hardanger ties the land to its rural heart. “This is the first full version of this theme. The brass are building, but theHardanger is still at the forefront,” Shore says. Still, this, the boldest statement yet of the Rohan theme, takes an acrimonious turnas Théoden espies Gríma and recalls the sting of his leechcraft.Wormtongue is uprooted from his dank corner of Medusled, and in a boil of shame and hatred, flees Rohan, forever removinghis profane theme from the land. Théoden, having chased the scoundrel as far as the steps of the Golden Hall, now stands beforehis people. They bow, but in the King’s preoccupation, the Rohan Fanfare refuses to sound. In its place a series of brass chordsmounts powerfully, but curiously. “Where is Théodred?” he wonders aloud. “Where is my son?”The Éowyn and Théoden theme proceeds along a somber course as the King’s niece presides over Théodred’s funeral. An unem-bellished statement of the theme stands somberly, like a stark grave marker, its rich Lydian harmonies now peaked and cold. Cer-emonial chorus enters singing “The Funeral of Théodred,” over which Éowyn (Miranda Otto) chants a melody line by Plan 9. Theclean pure tones of solo trumpet over chorus finally usher Théodred to the halls of his forefathers. But just as the line cadenceson a dark B-minor triad, Théoden is reminded of his purpose. The children from the Westfold arrive, exhausted from their longescape. Rohan needs its King.4 – T H E K I N G’ S D ECISI O NThéoden refuses to challenge Saruman head on, deciding instead to take refuge atHelm’s Deep. Háma, Captain of the King’s Guard, makes the declaration to the IN THE MAKING:people of Edoras while French horn calls the Rohan theme out, the end of eachstatement collapsing prematurely, folding downwards in wearied defeat. Listeners will again note “The King’s Decision” and “Exodus From Edoras” The Fellowship knows share a few identical measures. Théoden is walking into The open fifth string harmonies that a trap. Gandalf confides end “The King’s Decision” backed in Aragorn, “I fear for the Éowyn’s sword practice, which, in survival of Rohan,” as low the Theatrical edit of The Two Tow- and mid strings wreathe ers, immediately followed Gandalf ’s upwards, peaking in the departure from the stables. On DVD down-and-back shape Aragorn and Éowyn first discuss Brego of the Fellowship theme. after Gandalf leaves, and so the end of The White Rider knows Shore’s composition is dissolved out of that he must intervene the film. if the Rohirrim are to survive. The fifths are heard here, on CD, both in their original placement, at the endTrembling, the orchestra builds to a dynamic but minor-moded and serious- of “The King’s Decision,” and at theirminded statement of The White Rider (In the Fellowship) and the Wizard rides new residence, approximately half wayShadowfax out to seek aid. through “Exodus From Edoras,” where Éowyn’s sword scene eventually settled.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 145 – E XO D US F RO M ED O R ASAragon and Éowyn have their first real conversation in Edoras’ stables, and though the Sheildmaiden is not yet won over by theRanger from the North, she is, at the very least, intrigued. Cor anglais and flute with strings stir into a near romantic melody asÉowyn speaks to Aragorn.But the line is shackled by the aberrantly bubbling tones of Isengard’s music and a muted brass variation of the Evil Times motiveas a horse and rider approach Orthanc. With a low roll of the tam-tam the rider is revealed to be none other than Gríma, sonof Galmod—the Wormtongue. The orchestra’s substratum lurches to reluctant life, contrabassoon, tuba, celli and basses againshuffling out Gríma’s lifeless motif. He informs Saruman that Théoden is now in league with the Fellowship, and describes a manwearing a ring with two entwined serpents.The score pauses, dropping pairs of low C-naturals about the silence—figures that, in shape, recall the Ringwraiths’ theme, andremind Saruman of the power his victory would bring. Saruman now knows that Gandalf seeks to return the King of Gondor tothe throne, but he is little concerned. His is still the seat of power, and the Rohirrim will soon feel his might.Mounting clusters of Rohan-esqueharmonies illustrate the urgency ofthe threat as the populace of Edo-ras prepares to abandon the city.King Théoden promises Gamlingthat, “This is not a defeat,” but thescore suggests otherwise. Flute andviolins knit the Evil Times motiveback into the musical fabric.Before departing, Éowyn practicesher combat skills. She claims that,more than anything, she fears herown uselessness. Shore’s score tellsthe rest of the tale. The Éowynand Théoden theme plays in therich low register of the violin sec-tion, then cor—she wants to fightalongside her uncle and his menand prove her valor in battle. But that battle will have to wait. The fully realized Rohan Fanfare plays out for the second time inthe score, but without the clear brass that previously intoned it. As the King casts a ragged glance back towards his home, only theHardanger’s brittle, rugged strings present the theme.Still conferring, Gríma guesses at the Rohirrim’s next move while Saruman lends but a fraction of his heavy-lidded attention.High strings perform a third iteration of Evil Times, but here the final descending whole-step is shortened to a half-step, movingthe motive’s contours closer to the chromatic music of Mordor. Théoden’s people are playing right into Saruman’s hands, and yetthe Wizard remains hazily disinterested. Disinterested, that is, until, in a disgusting snag of flutes, densely grouped high stringsand gruff flicks of contrabassoon, two of Wormtongue’s words peak Saruman’s brow: women and children. The Rohirrim arevulnerable.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 156 – T H E F O R ESTS O F ITHILIE NSolo clarinet returns the story to Frodo, Sam and Gollum. The clarinet, ofcourse, relates to the two citizens of the Shire, but the melodic line is any-thing but hobbit-like. Lifting through an F-minor arpeggio then descending,the clarinet seems to be toying with the opening of The Pity of Gollum. “It’stying the two of them—Frodo and Gollum—together,” Shore acknowledges.“Frodo could become Gollum.”Soon the hobbits retire for the night and Gollum is alone with himself.Fractures of the Pity theme tumble through the orchestra. Violins and bassclarinet examine the telltale ascending minor arpeggios under flitteringcelesta trills as the subservient Sméagol and the treacherous Gollum vie fordominance—the winner being announced, not with a blast of trumpets, butwith the squawk of a contrabass clarinet.Needy Sméagol has cast nasty Gollum aside, and is busy at work pleasing hismaster. The contrabass clarinet, supported from below by pizzicato bass, playsan irreparably damaged variation on the chipper Hobbit Outline figure, thehighest pitch swinging downwards on its rotting hinge. Over this, Sméagol has repurposed the cimbalom from Gollum’s Menace, wrenching it into a UNUSED CONCEPT: servile, toothless grin. Contrabassoon enters the mix, deepening the composition’s timbre just before Sam cuts short Sméagol’s moment of giddy triumph. “It is a strange little thing,” In the film the sequence Shore says with a smile, “almost comedic.” featuring Gollum’s warped contrabass clarinet varia- In the bustle, Frodo wanders off to follow the odd calls of the forest. Field drums stiffen tion of the Hobbit Outline the writing alongside a militaristic motif based off ascending minor triads, and the forest was not used. unlooses a band of Haradrim soldiers. But with a shudder of timpani and bass drum, two elephantine beasts IN THE MAKING:emerge following the soldiers. These are Mûmakil, the Haradrim’s beasts of The militaristic minor triad figure meantburden, and Shore’s scoring for them sets up not a permanent melody, but for the Haradrim’s first appearance wasa distinct treatment of the orchestra. Weighty lines in the depths of the or- cut from the film and replaced by thechestral palette (here unison celli and basses) sway beneath a prickling haze Mûmakil’s low, swaying music minus aof aleatoric flute and clarinets, discordant harp glissandi and sizzling dilruba few of the accompanying instruments.(bowed sitar). Since the Mûmakil’s music makes itsThe forest’s odd calls sound again, signaling a group of Rangers of Ithilien intended entrance just seconds later, theto ambush the Haradrim. Again the score adopts a militaristic edge with a film edit results in two sequential read-strikingly similar motif. The Haradrim emerged with the pitches of a minor ings, which appear to lend the line greaterscale ordered 1-3-5, the Rangers with 1-3-2. It’s an odd symmetry that ties significance than Shore intended. In fact,the new villains to the new heroes. Upon Faramir’s appearance, this is clari- this line is only meant to play once in Thefied. At the skirmish’s end, Faramir stands over a fallen Haradrim soldier and Two Towers, although it sets up a scoringwonders how the man may have come to follow this path. “You wonder what style that returns, like the Mûmakil, withhis name is… where he came from. And if he was really evil at heart.” Shore’s a vengeance in The Return of the King.score roams questioningly through minor harmonies, uncertain and restless. The Complete Recordings features “TheFaramir continues, “What lies or threats led him on this long march from Forest of Ithilien” as Shore composedhome. If he would not have rather have stayed there…” and for two chords it—the military motif plays as the Har-the music compassionately warms with low brass and timpani, “…in peace.” adrim enter and the low 3/4 music playsHe pauses. “War will make corpses of us all.” as the Mûmakil enter.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 167 – O N E O F T HE D ÚN EDAI NFeaturi ng “ Even star ” p erformed by Is ab el B ayrakdarianGimli, having some difficulty maintaining his dignityof late, loses control of his horse. The music, like hissteed, trots right out from under him in a brush of six-teenth notes bounding through the string section. Theexodus from Edoras proceeds, travelers doing whatthey can to keep their spirits up. Théoden sees Éowynsmile at Gimli’s misfortune and notes to Aragorn thather smiles have been too rare over the years. He regretsthat he did not act as the father she needed. HereShore begins not the Éowyn and Théoden theme, asmight seem appropriate, but Éowyn Sheildmaiden ofRohan, the theme that speaks of her in isolation.Éowyn’s principle theme (Éowyn Shieldmaiden of Ro-han) takes a few interesting turns as she speaks to Ara-gorn. Théoden may not have seen much of her smile,but Aragorn seems to elicit it freely. Here Éowyn’s theme halts and starts, reacting bashfully—almost comically—to Aragorn as heattempts to graciously accept her grisly stew. Solo clarinet enters and a new theme appears to be forming. A descending F-majorarpeggio at 1:53 gives just the slightest hint of the Éowyn and Aragorn theme, still in a state of faint self-realization.Oboe enters, presenting the next step in the developing Fellowship in Rohan motif, but immediately following is a familiar linein solo French horn, The Realm of Gondor. Aragorn not only links the Rohirrim to the Fellowship, but also with Gondor. InThe Realm of Gondor’s opening pitches—heard here for only the second time in The Lord of the Rings—we are reminded of hisheritage, and his regal birthright. But Aragorn is not yet ready to claim that birthright. His mind is torn between his responsibilities inMiddle-earth, fears of his own potential weak- nesses, and his love for Arwen. Beneath the Gondor theme the Rivendell arpeggios begin to flow, warm but somber, devoid of the lucent orchestra- tions that colored the lines in The Fellowship of the Ring. Lyric soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian enters singing “Evenstar” over female chorus divided three ways. The line, which moves from voice to alto flute, combines the ambrosial vocal tone of the Elves with melodic contours directly out of The Heroics of Aragorn theme—including the crucial down-and-back-up figure. Can Ara- gorn lead the World of Men without abandoning his love for Arwen? Should he love her at all? The Diminishment of the UNUSED CONCEPT: Elves (“Gilrean’s Song”)returns for the first time since Aragorn visited his mother’s grave, reminding Isabel Bayrakdarian’s first statement ofhim that he is a mortal man, and that even in the best of circumstances would the Evenstar (Arwen Aragorn) themeeventually leave Arwen bereft. The theme colors its surroundings, migrat- is not heard in the final film. Instead,ing from female chorus to low strings. With a final sigh of the alto flute the the female chorus and the harp arpeg-Evenstar and Diminishment themes are intertwined, shrouding the future in gios carry the first moments of Aragorn’suncertainty. Will Arwen and Aragorn accept theirs as a love inevitably doomed flashback by themselves.to recede, or will they proceed down a path of uncertainty, sustained by their Her performance is heard in its entiretyenduring affection? here on CD.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 178 – T H E WO LVES O F ISE N GARDWith a pitch of the melded Isengard theme, Five Beat Patternand Mordor’s Skip Beat, a Warg-riding Orc pounces upon Háma, IN THE MAKING:the Rohirrim’s scout. Aragorn rushes back to the caravan to warnthem of an impending attack while infuriated French horns Several changes affect this composition in thewrench forth, spinning the Rohan Fanfare’s opening pitches into film. When Legolas watches the full complimenta panicked klaxon. Théoden orders the women and children to of Warg riders coming over the crest of a hill, adepart immediately, though the Hardanger sings out Éowyn’s pro- few measures are edited in from Fellowship’s Moriatests. With a roar of the Isengard theme and the Five Beat, a full sequence, extending the build a bit further thancompany of Wargs charges the Horselords. Above, mixed chorus Shore’s original “Wolves” composition.sings “The Call,” in Old English, building to the troops’ first clash. Originally, after the Eorlingas ride up to where Le- golas launches arrows at the Wargs, “The Wolves ofWith the wicked twist of the curdling Cruelty of the Orcs, the Isengard” returned to the panicked klaxon Frenchbattle rages. Though the Rohirrim are winning, this motive, the horn variation on the Rohan Fanfare, before pre-sharpest and vilest of the Orcs’ collection, illustrates that the senting a deep setting of the Isengard theme overcreatures are taking their toll. A riderless Warg positions his open the Five Beat Pattern. In the film a thinner Isengardmaw over Gimli’s head, but with a brassy stab of the Fellowship theme begins earlier, right after Éowyn departs withtheme, Aragorn is able to dispatch it at the last moment. the women and children, expanding the score by aAbruptly, an inverted variant of the Cruelty of the Orcs knocks few seconds.Aragorn from his horse’s back. The music spins, wrapped in a Finally, the charge of the Riders towards the Wargschurning 3/4 meter as Sharku, the Warg riders’ captain, ensnares was tightened in the final film, so Shore’s settingAragorn and drags him to the edge of a precipice. Trumpet fig- of “The Call” was shortened and a brass chord wasures cycle restlessly, rising in pitch as Aragorn nears the cliff. With edited in to bring the warring forces together earlier.a dissonant sustain of blistering brass and strings, Aragorn spillsover the edge.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 189 – R E F U GE AT HELM ’ S D EEPLegolas and Gimli find Sharku bleeding upon the plains, sputtering a sickly laugh to himself. The Orc claims Aragorn is dead,offering as proof Arwen’s pendant. Cor anglais pitches proceed down and back up, setting the Fellowship opening over a C-minortriad in low strings. The Fellowship theme, which before offered a major harmonization to a minor theme, can no longer maintainthe paradox. Aragorn is gone. Surveying the carnage, Théoden fears the Orcs will return, and orders the troop to move on, leavingthe dead. Celli and basses again pass through the Fellowship’s opening notes, sinking the theme’s spirits even lower.Elsewhere, Éowyn has led the women and children of Edoras to Helm’s Deep. The opening of her theme carries her hope tothe gate, admitting her inside where she finds scant provisions, a ragtag band of soldiers and the weary refugees of Rohan. Theorchestral swell halts, constricted to a single disbelieving C-natural. “It’s disappointing,” Shore confirms. “It’s seen through her eyes.That’s part of what Peter was doing, always trying to bring it down to the human spirit. Musically, as well, I’m working with thecharacters and their emotions.” Hardanger sings the Rohan Fanfare in the same fragile setting used when the exodus began. Thestronghold seems to have done little to aid the Rohirrim.Isabel Bayrakdarian returns to provide the text for Éowyn’s wordless expression. Two lines from “The Missing,” are set to amelodic line that prefigures the upcoming “The Grace of the Valar.” The translated lines, “…she felt the loss/of all things that shemissed,” express Éowyn’s pain and hopelessness, and yet the burgeoning mysticism of the melody seems to suggest the tale is notyet over. “Isabel did one take of this,” Shore recalls. “That one take was the only one we ever recorded. We were recording ‘Evenstar’and the session had been going for hours. Then, as she was leaving, I said, ‘Maybe just try this once, we’ll record it tomorrow.’ Shejust did it once and we never recorded it the next day because it was so great.”1 0 – T H E VO I CE O F SARUMAN The time for all-out war has come. Saruman has gathered a legion of Uruk-hai at the base IN THE MAKING: of Orthanc and now bellows terrible commands to the troops from his thorny balcony. Shore’s composition here is the most single-minded in The Two Towers. Relentlessly, it The first 15 seconds of “The seeks to intensify only two motives—the Five Beat Pattern and the Isengard theme. And Voice of Saruman” are not so it does, the themes, per their wont, growing in energy and force, but never in complex- used in the final film, though ity or sophistication. Set in the very lowest reaches of the orchestra’s brass, this composi- the composition appears here tion arcs over one long accelerando, building from a bone-cracking growl to the driving on disc as Shore wrote it. low strings, timpani, piano, taiko and bass drum of the Uruks’ lopsided footslog. They march to Helm’s Deep, and to war!
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 19 11 – ARWE N ’ S FATE Featuring “ The Grace of the Valar ” p erformed by Sheila C handra Aragorn’s unconscious form floats downriver, as the soothing graze of the monochord hums beneath him, conjuring the music of the Elves. Four alto flutes ascend in their clement, airy tones, dreamily hailing the arrival of a soprano voice. Sheila Chandra performs “The Grace of the Valar,” the text of which seems at first to address Aragorn IN THE MAKING: from Arwen’s point of view (“Shadow In the film, Sheila Chandra’s secondlies between us/as you came, so you shall leave from us”), though the opposite is statement of the vocal line is replacedsoon shone to be true. This is Aragorn’s selfless plea to Arwen, that she should when the music jumps ahead to presentleave Middle-earth and carry the memory of his undying love with her. (“For the solo alto flute under Aragorn’s rideyou are not bound to the circles of this world/You are not bound to loss and to upon Brego.silence.”) Though painted in Elven hues, the melody belongs to Aragorn—its The flute solo having already played,contours are informed by the Heroics of Aragorn theme. With a second phrase Arwen’s discussion with Elrond is leftof the vocal melody, Aragorn drags himself atop Brego, and is led away from the unscored, though Chandra’s first phras-riverbank. es repeat as Arwen’s vision of the future begins. This vision then concludes withMeanwhile in Rivendell, Shore continues to turn the musical tables. Arwen an edited in reading of The Diminish-is told by Elrond that it is time for her to board the ship to Valinor, but the ment of the Elves (“Gilrean’s Song”).Elves’ signature vocal timbres are nowhere to be found. Alto flute, instead, solosover elegant string chords. And so, in this complicated love affair, Man is now The entire original composition ismomentarily represented by a female voice while Elf is represented by a solo heard here, unaltered.instrumentalist.1 2 – T H E STO RY FO RETO LDThe solo alto flute is joined by interplaying string lines as Arwen, still in Rivendell, grapples with her difficult decision. Promptedby her father, she decides to forsake her love for Aragorn and depart Middle-earth with the rest of her kind. The score tenderlypauses, then enfolds the Rivendell theme in the most elaborate setting heard since Fellowship. Yet despite the female voices inton-ing “Hymn to Elbereth”, the harp glissandi and robust arpeggio figures, the Rivendell theme moves slowly and softly, almost reced-ing. After a single rhapsodic statement of the line it evolves into a sadder, more linearly expressive shape that draws the stylistictendencies of the “Evenstar” and “The Grace of the Valar” music closer to Rivendell.Over a lingering shot, the monochord reappears in clarification of its appearance in the music of Rivendell: Elrond has been intelepathic communication with Galadriel. The Eastern-tinted Lothlórien theme—sarangi doubled with female chorus singing“Footsteps of Doom” —makes its debut appearance in The Two Towers as Galadriel peers into the future of Middle-earth. “In thegathering dark, the will of the Ring grows strong,” she tells Elrond. Violins nimbly trickle in The Nameless Fear passage, subtlyrising like Sauron’s mounting power, over irresolute minor chords. This same passage plays under Galadriel’s narration in The Fel-lowship of the Ring’s opening, and conditions have improved little since then. The Ring still seeks to reach its master. To that end, ithas now entered the susceptible World of Men.Will the Ring be changing hands again? In its classic A minor cor anglais guise, the History of the Ring sighs across the scorewhile Faramir and his Rangers take Frodo and Sam to their hidden outpost of Henneth Annûn.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 201 3 – S O N S O F THE STEWARD Faramir tells the hobbits that Boromir, his brother, is dead. Cloven excerpts of Evil Times litter the scene, select pitches chipped off the figure entirely, others raising an upsetting half-step, IN THE MAKING: bending the line closer to Mordor’s chromatic tones. With a compassionate swell of strings, Far- The choral writing in amir recalls finding his brother’s boat. He turns Boromir’s ruined horn in his hands, contempla- this composition, which tive, and for just a moment the score trembles. Celli and basses, first in Ab minor then G minor, features The Two Towers’ peruse the first five notes of the Seduction of the Ring theme. Boromir tried to take the Ring. only use of “The Death Does Faramir share his weakness? of Boromir” text, does not appear in the film. The younger brother remembers happier times, envisioning Boromir retaking the city of Os- giliath. A sterling trumpet solo awakens, flexing its strong limbs and sounding The Realm of Gondor. Boromir proudly announces, “This city of Osgiliath has been reclaimed for Gondor!”Cymbals crash and a company of brass sings Gondor’s theme as proudly as it has yet been heard. But for all its dignity, it is stillThe Realm of Gondor (in Decline), the melody line pulling downwards at the theme’s tail end.Faramir and Boromir share a drink under the shelter of the victorious score, but the calm is unmade by their father’s entrance.Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, has another task for his eldest. Word of Elrond’s upcoming Council has reached his ears, andhe has guessed its purpose. The One Ring has been found. The History of the Ring themeplays, but ducks away at the last instant, concealing itself from view. At the same time, anew more sinister motive reveals itself. A purely rhythmic variation on the Mordor SkipBeat percolates through the string writing, each statement bracketed into three identicalpitches that neither rise nor shift. The utterances become more pronounced until the linebreaks to the forefront of the score in a near quote of a passage fromThe Fellowship of theRing’s Prologue. War with Sauron has bent Denethor’s fragile mind. His voice is but awhisper, yet Shore’s score builds so intently that each word assumes a maddening weight.“Bring me back this mighty gift,” he tells Boromir.Despite his misgivings Boromir accepts this charge, and cor anglais and French horn joinover a string pedal in The Two Towers’ final muted statement of The Realm of Gondor.Strings finish the line, accentuating its conclusion—the Decline phrase.1 4 – RO C K A N D P O O LStrings, flutes and clarinets trill into a swirl of tonalities before peeling back to reveal an old acquaintance: the cimbalom, jitteringand twitching on a single exposed pitch. “It’s just a little bit of the sound of it, but it doesn’t play the Gollum’s Menace melody,”Shore explains. Sméagol has been found by Faramir’s men. Violas and harp resume, burbling through D-minor and Bb-minorarpeggios, recalling the Pity theme as Sméagol fishes. Threatened with Sméagol’s death, Frodo coaxes the creature to him. Violinand cor pull the Pity tune apart as Sméagol agrees to follow his master, only to be constrained by Faramir’s Rangers.1 5 – FAR A M I R’ S GO O D CO UN CILCaptured and beaten, Sméagol weeps. A familiar voice returns—it is Gollum taunting Sméagol. ThePity theme’s opening passes from harp to strings to woodwinds, shattered throughout the ensemble, UNUSED CONCEPT:trying to collect itself, but unable to cohere. The bits collide and clot instead, building to a close-voicedcollection of pitches as nasty Gollum reclaims the gangrel creature’s dichotomous psyche. In the film, this composi- tion, from the SeductionIn a back room of the Rangers’ outpost, Sam confers with Frodo. Naïvely, he tells him to use the Ring, of the Ring’s entrancejust this once, to escape. But Faramir overhears the conversation and realizes that the Ring of Power, on, is dissolved into thethe very token which Boromir failed to deliver to Denethor, is now within his grasp. Finally, the sound effects to create aSeduction theme fully emerges, calling to Faramir with the same enticing offer that lured Boromir to stiller tone.his doom. Boys choir sings “The Seduction of the Ring”, entreating Faramir, promising victory and thepeace he so ardently desires.
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 21 Disc Three1 – AR AG O R N ’ S RETURNA shadowy figure on horseback moves acrossRohan’s plains. The music establishes a martialgait as Aragorn catches sight of a blight upon theland—at least 10,000 Orcs moving in snakingcolumns. Brego turns and picks up his pace, andShore returns to The Heroics of Aragorn as theDúnedan speeds towards Helm’s Deep. This isthe most powerful and propulsive setting of thisFellowship variant in the score—a very similarsetting to that heard at Amon Hen—but there isstill an impurity threaded within. The rising per-fect fourth interval that first introduced Aragornin Bree again opens the ascending line, and it is this interval that carries the remnants of Aragorn’s reluctance and uncertainty. Herides to Helm’s Deep not to lead, but to forewarn.Nevertheless, the score grants him a hero’s welcome. A short running line for bassoon and celli carries Aragorn across the cause-way—a line which recalls the figures heard when Éomer and his Riders first encountered Aragorn and the Fellowship upon theplains of Rohan, neatly paralleling the events. A strong turn of the Fellowship theme sounds, the first we have heard of this themesince Gimli and Legolas mourned Aragorn after the Warg attack.2 – WAR I S UP O N US Aragorn informs Théoden that the Uruk-hai army will be upon them before nightfall. The King puts on a strong face, praising the impregnable defenses of Helm’s Deep, but IN THE MAKING: Aragorn and Gimli follow him, insisting that he should consider this matter more seri- Due to some trimming in the ously. Over a slow-building bolero-like rhythm in low strings, Shore proceeds with a first minute of this composi- staid examination of the second half of the Fellowship theme. Inserted into this somber tion, the first of the three mélange are three trumpet calls. The first and third present the same rising perfect fourth trumpet calls does not appear interval that has tied Aragorn to his reluctance since Bree. The second call presents a in the film. rising minor third, the first two pitches of the Rohan Fanfare. Musically, the Rohirrim’s predicament is portrayed as the Fellowship’s responsibility.The Ents, too, realize that Sauron is a force to be reckonedwith. The impassive Ent theme returns, infused, this time,with a dramatic choral line. An Entmoot has been called.The Shepherds of the Trees may be slow to move, butthey have at least now decided to consider the situation.With a great swell of Shore’s orchestral forest, a grove ofEnts converges
The MUSIC OF THE Lord of the Rings FILMS 223 – “ WH E R E I S THE H O RSE AN D THE RID ER?”Helm’s Deep is prepared for war. Éowyn complains to Aragorn that she should be allowed to fight, not required to join the otherwomen and children in the Glittering Caves. A particularly emotive setting of her melody begins this composition, though tenmeasures in it becomes clear that we’re listening to a new Éowyn theme. In her plea, she blurts out that she loves Aragorn. Thisis the Éowyn and Aragorn theme, in some ways the most courageous in Éowyn’s catalogue. It rounds off the searching rise ofher principle theme with earnest descending contours, but this kind of self-expression is still foreign to Éowyn. Immediately sheshrinks back, resigned to her place in the Caves. The line dissipates, only to be replaced by a steady and abject setting of the Rohantheme for orchestral strings.The Fellowship surveys the arming of Rohan, boys and old men alike. Swords are distributed, while low strings assemble a fewsteely phrases built off minor triads. “They are all going to die!” Legolas tells Aragorn. He shoots back, “Then I shall die as oneof them!” As noble as the sentiment may be, the score sets it against a dark French horn Evil Times variant. Unless the situationchanges, the Elf is correct. Théoden, too, is readying himself, privately fearful of what fate seems to promise. Again, low stringspresent a series of hardened figures based on minor triads, this time less militaristic and more fatalistic. Chorus rises with “TheCall” over a heartbeat of timpani.The soldiers convene upon the ramparts, but Aragorn has lost his resolve. He sits dejected,watching the troops until he sees Háma’s son, Haleth, a mere boy, ready to join the men in IN THE MAKING:battle. Another trumpet call sounds, aspiring to be a bold call to arms, but stuck on the firsttwo pitches of the Rohan Fanfare, unable to complete the line. Aragorn speaks with the boy The low string figuresas low strings continue with an accompaniment, likewise attempting to complete the Rohan under Aragorn’s talk withphrase, but again, incapable. Fearful, Haleth looks to Aragorn for words of encouragement. Haleth are dissolved out ofThe Heir of Isildur offers no false optimism, but tells the boy to never surrender hope. In the film’s sound mix.this moment, Aragorn understands why he must lead. As he arms himself the trumpet callreturns, still unable to complete a heroic statement of the Rohan Fanfare, but enlivened,quicker, coupled with a bold snare drum tattoo. The three members of the Fellowship of the Ring reunite, and the down-and-back-up pitches of the Fellowship theme sound in reverberant strings. The odds of survival may not have improved, but there ishonor, nonetheless, in doing what is right.4 – T H E H O ST O F THE ELDARHope is rewarded. Haldir of Lórien arrives with a band of Elf archers to assistthe Rohirrim. The Lothlórien theme takes a heretofore unheard guise, its florid UNUSED CONCEPT:current solidified into a militant march. Voices and brass in Elf-like unison carrythe theme over rhythmic percussion and strings. And yet, optimism is still tem- The Fellowship theme that backspered—The London Voices yet sing the grim “Footsteps of Doom” text associated the Elf archers’ precision move towith the Lothlórien theme. readiness was removed from the film when it was decided that theAs Haldir tells Théoden that the Elves have returned to honor their old alliance melody should be saved exclusivelywith Men, three chords rise through high strings—nearly identical to the three for the members of the Fellowship.chords heard when Gandalf, at the Doors of Durin, invoked the name “Fëanor”, one The last two chords of the compo-of the Eldar. Aragorn rushes to Haldir, greeting him with a clear trumpet calling sition were also dissolved in orderout the Fellowship theme. Neither the Elf archers nor the soldiers of Rohan are to extend the pre-battle silence by atrue members of the Fellowship, but in their alliance, they follow its spirit implicit- few seconds.ly. The Elves, in flawless precision, snap themselves to readiness while Shore marksthe alliance with one more lively salutation from the Fellowship theme.None of this cheer, however, has slowed the Uruks; their torchlight and cries now deface the visible horizon, their footfalls shakingthe ground. Ensconced deep within the Glittering Caves the women and children of Rohan cower in expectancy. The score sinksinto a cheerless lull that is navigated by a single anticipatory double-reed statement of the Rohan theme. “It’s gentle and emotional.These are families, and the score plays to their sorrow,” Shore says. “There’s going to be destruction and death very soon.” With ahandful of chromatically rising chords, the Uruk-hai arrive at Helm’s Deep.